SPVM Officer Suspended Over Maple Spring Police Brutality Allegations
Second Officer Charged Awaiting Verdict
In the throes of the 2012 Maple Spring protests, Riley Sparks, then staff writer at The Link, was pushed to the ground and struck with a baton by police at a vigil held for a victim of police brutality.
The victim was Francois Grenier, a student who had lost sight in his right eye after being struck by a police stun grenade at a protest earlier that day.
“I’m willing to accept a certain amount of bumps and bruises and gas as part of the job — I think as reporters all of us get that,” Sparks said.
“What bothered me about this incident is that it was targeted. This wasn’t a random baton or cloud of gas that happened to catch me. The officers saw me, saw what I was doing and made the decision to intervene anyway,” he explained.
July 8, two years after Sparks filed charges against him, Pascal Daze admitted to behaving “excessively and inappropriately” while hitting the reporter with his baton. He has been suspended for one day without pay.
“There was admission of wrongdoing, which is something. But, of course if a citizen was going to go bash someone with a baton they’d get more than a day off work,” said Colin Harris, coordinating editor of The Link at the time of the incident.
“There was admission of wrongdoing, which is something. But, of course if a citizen was going to go bash someone with a baton they’d get more than a day off work.”
“Given that the complaint was handled by the Comité de déontologie and not through a criminal court, I’m not surprised by the sentence,” said Pierre Chauvin, a Link photographer who recorded the incident.
“[The violence] really wasn’t surprising. Police were using batons and [tear gas] regularly,” Harris said.
Unprovoked violence, however, proved surprising for the student reporters.
“It came as a shock since Riley had been careful to stay out of the police’s way and indicated to the police officer that he was working,” Chauvin explained.
The officer who initially pushed Sparks to the ground, Dimitrios Karamitsos Danos, has not yet been sanctioned.
“Daze admitted to having used unnecessary force during the incident. In effect, he pleaded guilty. The case against Danos and the other two officers, who maintain they did nothing wrong, is ongoing.” Sparks said.
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